Sunday, November 27, 2016

Blog CCXI (211): Patton as an Academic

Mark Grimsley
Mark Grimsley of The Ohio State University is one of the leading military historians in the profession.  He writes primarily on the Civil War time period.  His first book was: The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), which won the Lincoln Prize.  He has written, co-written, or edited five others.  He has won three teaching awards at OSU.  He is also a blogger of the first order.  He developed the website, Facebook page, and blog of the Society for Military.  His website is and the blog of that website is: "Blog Them Out of the Stone Age: Toward A Broader Vision of Military History and National Security Affairs." 

An essay he posted on "Blog Them Out of the Stone Age" really spoke to me in several ways.  As many of you might note, I wrote a book on the making of the film Patton.  The introduction is the piece of writing I am most proud of at the moment.  I modeled it after the Frank Sinatra film The Manchurian Candidate (1962), cutting back and forth between George C. Scott shooting the scene, the scene itself, and reactions to that section of the film.  (Francis Ford Coppola wrote this section of the script, by gluing several speeches the real Patton gave into one short address).  The chapter that was the most difficult to write was the one, where I discuss all the references to it in films and television shows since  and various other appropriations of the film.  In one of the more clever of these efforts, Grimsley rewrote the scene with Patton as an academic. It begins:
Now I want you to remember that few PhDs ever get the job they really wanted. They get used to taking a job at some college where they feel under-placed.
It ends:
Now, all this stuff about there not being many jobs, much less tenure-track jobs, is absolute gospel. Colleges love to exploit PhDs.  Most real colleges love to make you adjuncts. 
Oh.  I will be proud to lead you gullible fools down the garden path any time I can get my readings course to subscribe 
That’s all.
I am not sure if I should laugh or cry.

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